The United States is home to some of the most innovative and interesting companies in the world. As a Canadian, we sometimes have limited access to these companies for a variety of reasons.
This means that for most of us, we have to take a trip to the US, we have a connection in the US to help send products we want to us or we wait until the company expands into Canada.
There is, however, a third way to order products online from the US and have it shipped to Canada. The only consideration is that it may cost a little more for shipping and duties.
From my experience, there are two types of problems that Canadian consumers face when the try to shop online. First, the company will only ship to US addresses and second, the website will only accept US credit cards. Below, I discuss how to overcome each of these barriers.
Part 1: How to bypass websites that only ship to US addresses.
If you don’t have a friend or family member who lives in the US who is willing to receive and send your packages on your behalf, you can sign up for a shipping service that forwards your products to you in any country in the world. There are many companies that do this such as myus.com, shipito.com, borderlinx.com and usamail1.com.
Most of these companies are free to sign up and will charge a nominal amount for each package that they receive on your behalf. You will be given your own address once you sign up that will be specifically tied to your account. Whenever you order products online, you will use this address as your shipping address (as I have done in the example below).
Once your order is received at the warehouse, the forwarding company will ship your product to your home address (anywhere in the world) according to your preference. Most companies offer a consolidation service to help reduce shipping costs. Alternatively, the company can send you the package as is.
The forwarding company will then give you a tracking number for your package once it has been sent out. Just remember that you will often have to pay the shipping costs and duty once your package is delivered to you. So you will need a credit card handy. Otherwise, the company will not give you your package. Alternatively, you can call the shipping company in advance to have the cost paid off before it is dropped off at your house.
Some retailers already know that they have international customers and have set up agreements with forwarding companies to cover the additional shipping costs which works out well for us Canadians.
Part 2: How to order online when the website only accepts US credit cards
This problem has kept me from ordering from some US companies for several years. However, once I figured out how to overcome this barrier, I had a great time shopping at some of my favourite brands.
Forwarding companies often offer a service to use an US credit card for websites that do not accept international credit cards.
Alternatively, if you would rather use your own credit card, the important part to note is that the way credit card companies read information from websites is in order of Name, Street, City, State, Zip Code. Essentially, you can put all of your credit card information in the first two lines where it says name and address. For the City, State, Zip code, I use my forwarding company’s address which the system never even actually uses. However, these fields need to be filled out for the order to be processed. Below is an example of what it would look like:
I hope you find this helpful. Happy shopping!